QATAR: A Darfur donor conference has raised $3.6bn in pledges …to finance the development of war-ravaged Darfur in west Sudan

A Darfur donor conference has raised $3.6bn in pledges to finance the development of war-ravaged Darfur in west Sudan, host country Qatar which contributed $500mn announced yesterday.

HE the Deputy Premier and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud and Sudan’s Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) leader Eltigani Seisi during a news conference at the end of the International Donor Conference for Reconstruction and Development in Darfur, in Doha yesterday.

“These pledges cover more than the $177mn needed for urgent” projects, said UN resident co-ordinator Ali al-Za’tari following announcements by Qatar and other donor countries.

Deputy Premier and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, HE Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud, said a total of $3.6bn was pledged at the two-day meeting, including the contribution of Sudan’s government set by a July 2011 peace deal at $2.65bn.

Qatar will make an immediate contribution of $88mn, half of the $177 urgent aid pledged at the conference, al-Mahmoud said, adding that his country’s promise of $500mn would include grants and contributions to projects.

Qatar also confirmed its commitment to contribute to the capital of a $2bn Darfur Development Bank, initially with $200mn, said Amin Sharkawi, the deputy country director of the UN Development Programme.

The European Union pledged 27mn euros ($35mn) and Germany promised 16mn euros in aid at the conference.

Britain had on Sunday offered at least £11mn ($16.5mn) for Darfur annually over the next three years to help communities to grow food and boost employment skills.

Darfur’s neighbour, Chad, pledged $1mn at the conference that aimed to endorse a strategy to rebuild Darfur.

The meeting was agreed under the 2011 peace deal which Khartoum signed in Doha with an alliance of rebel groups.

It seeks support for the six-year, $7.2bn strategy to move Darfur away from food handouts and other emergency aid, and lay the foundations for lasting development through improved infrastructure.

“We do not need to raise the $7.2bn today. What we need to raise is sufficient funds to start implementation and to build credibility of the process. And this we have already achieved at this stage,” Za’tari said.

Source: Caye Global News, Gulf Times

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